The mayor of Kissimmee, José Álvarez, today asked the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, to address the foreseeable crisis of housing shortages in the state for Puerto Ricans displaced after the passage of hurricane María on the island.
Alvarez said during a round table in that central Florida city, in which Scott met with civil authorities, that “the next great challenge” they face in that region is to provide permanent shelter to the displaced, who are temporarily being sheltered. in their relatives’ houses.
“We have to see how we are going to solve that before it becomes a problem,” said Alvarez, according to Florida Politics.
The center of Florida, where the largest population of Puerto Ricans is concentrated in the state, has welcomed the majority of some 140,000 Puerto Ricans who suffered the effects of Hurricane Maria, who made landfall on the island last September 20.
Mayor Álvarez suggested adapting trailers to offer shelter to the displaced, as well as fitting as housing for the State Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) closed motels in the corridor of federal highway 192.
Scott last week activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to offer assistance to 3,000 Puerto Ricans affected by Hurricane Maria who are going to be airlifted to the mainland.
FEMA seeks to offer “temporary housing” to some 3,000 Puerto Ricans who are currently in shelters on the Caribbean island and could request relocation to Florida and New York.
On the other hand, the school authorities of central Florida, including Debra Pace, superintendent of the Osceola County Schools, showed during the round table their concern about the possible overpopulation of schools after Maria.
Pace noted that of some 6,300 children who have arrived from Puerto Rico, more than 1,350 have enrolled in their district.
“We are welcoming them and doing everything possible to serve them, but the capacity is becoming a real problem: the needs of the teachers, the staffing to help support them,” said Pace.
For now, the SEOC is activated at level two, which facilitates further planning and will support a more efficient and coordinated response “as we respond to the needs of these families,” said Governor Scott.
Scott reiterated that these families will receive crisis counseling services, educational resources, job placement services, medical assistance and grants to obtain housing and driving licenses.
The Government of Puerto Rico said today that it has managed to restore 48% of electricity generation on the island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria last September, which killed some 54 people.